At Buffering, we don't see a competition in what we do: Amit Wadhwani
With our legacy of collating data, understanding media buying and the usage of technology, we wanted to add value with our latest offering Buffering, says Wadhwani, one of the founders of Buffering
Buffering a tech venture that is using data and broadcast techniques to disrupt the world of politics, bollywood and sports is making headlines for all the right reasons. Buffering uses data crawling and remarketing techniques to track viewer trends, a never seen before approach in Bollywood and politics so far.
Amit B Wadhwani, one of the founders of Buffering, spoke to e4m about this platforms unique offerings and more.
What made you start Buffering?
There has been a huge opportunity that I see among three industries: Bollywood, Sports and Politics. All these three industries require data, amplification, technology plus they want some sort of a syndicate between the three to co-exist in a huge country like India which has 140 crore people who go gaga over politicians, a Bollywood star or be it a K. L. Rahul batting for India.
We started Buffering with an understanding that we would be able to leverage our data, technology, synergies, reach and the dispensation currently in the country in such a way so that we are able to not only monetize, but also add value to these industries.
Similarly, we have amplified something for Star Sports, for Sooryavanshi, 83, Antim and various other Bollywood movies. We manage 93 high profile politicians, what they speak in the house and the Parliament is written by us, conceptualized by us, the data that they use is filtered using our scrubbers and even the Psephology, which is the science of political campaigning, is something that they borrow from Buffering.
Buffering handles a diverse portfolio, can you tell us about its various verticals?
Buffering was born accidently when we realized that there is some sort of a void between the three worlds. They are not using enough data, enough tech, they are not speaking with each other, they meet at parties and events but they don't really leverage each other’s strong areas and fill up for each other’s gaps.
With our 12-15 years of legacy of collating data, understanding media buying, understanding the usage of technology, we wanted to add value. In 2019, we decided to start Buffering, a couple of politician friends offered their accounts to be managed, and from there we never looked back. Currently we manage around 93 politicians across 8 parties, out of which 6 are regional parties, and 2 are National parties.
In the upcoming elections in 5 states in 2022, Buffering aims to get at least 5% of the total revenue that will be spent on 5 states. Also, for the Mumbai BMC elections, we already have the mandate from 4 parties starting April or May, subject to Covid conditions, and there has not been a single movie that has released in the theaters post pandemic which Buffering has not done.
We have T-Series, Rohit Shetty Productions, Fox Studios, Zee Films and Netfilx. We have worked with almost all the OTT platforms and we are helping them amplify their content and reach. There are certain brands like Nykaa and Lenskart that we have worked with. We helped Nykaa reach out to maximum retail investors during its IPO that came out a couple of months ago.
We have kept Buffering profitable with an EBITDA of about 45%-50%, the last quarter of this fiscal year also looks promising. We have added to our luxury side of services a fleet of 11 aircrafts which are leased from businessmen across the country who were not able to monetize this. We will continue to remain asset light by using these aircrafts on a bilateral leasing policy from the owners of the aircraft offering it to sports, politics and Bollywood.
In your view, what would you call Buffering's best work over the last two years?
What Buffering has done is to get the three worlds together which are Bollywood, Sports and Politics. Number two, helping them leverage each other's connects using technology and data is a path breaking move and an achievement I would say.
Every industry uses technology and data. But to use it in an industry which is not into consumer durables or FMCG; which is driven by unpredictability, by vague values, by weird sentiments, a sector that is very difficult to predict, is an achievement.
No one can say who is going to win an election and whether theatres will be filled by a specific movies pull, or who will win the India-South Africa match. Irrespective of that, if you are able to drive revenues for them and also help them ease out their pressures by letting data and technology take over, I think this is Buffering's tallest achievement in the last 1 -18 months or so.
Give us a detailed sense of your current client base and the work you have done for them?
In terms of politicians, we have got popular names like Devendra Fadnavis, Nitesh and Nilesh Rane and the MSME Union Minister Narayan Rane, Prasad Lad from BJP, Abu Azmi from Samajwadi party, Rahul Shewale who is an MP from Shiv Sena. The mayor of Mumbai Kishori Pednekar also happens to be our client.
Raj Thackerys close confides Nitin Sardesai and Dr. Bala Nandgaonkar from MNS, Tejaswi Surya- the BJYM President of BJP and multiple such people happen to be our clients in the political psephology vertical.
In Bollywood we have done movies like 83, Sooryavanshi, Salman Khan's Antim, T- Series’ Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, which had Ayushshman Khurana in the lead. We also did Tadap, which was Suniel Shetty's son Ahaan Shetty's debut movie. We have done Nykaa's IPO and campaigns for various other brands in the last 3-4 months, getting in a revenue of about 20-25 crores by end of 31st of Dec 2021.
What is your vision for Buffering?
There is a huge addressable market because Politics, Sports and Bollywood never go out of cash. Out of India's 75 years of existence, we have seen these industries only flourish every five years, every 2 years, in fact every quarter.
Be it recession or times like covd-19, the amount of money that is spent on elections, entertainment and sports is huge. In 2022 we want to do at least amplification for 100 movies, manage 250 high profile politicians and their psephology, and we also want to get in close to about 50 sporting events which will use our data, technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning techniques to give viewers an amplified and an enhanced version. All this as per our deck will get home a revenue of at least about 110 crores by the end of 31st March, 2023
Would you call Buffering an OOH platform or network, or is it a purely digital network?
I would say OOH. We believe in out of home advertising for about a decade now, though we have a B2B brand. We do not mind investing with larger partners with a better reach to display our product, rather our product line, and our brand in a strategic partnership. That is why you see a lot of hoardings with movies, sporting events with a code sharing agreement in Buffering. We have about 7000 to 8000 hoardings around the country to which we have access to, and these hoardings can be offered in a strategic bilateral partnership with Buffering provided we feel that a specific partner is worth our bandwidth.
What sets you apart in this crowded market?
The question actually should be like how is there a competition because I don't see a competition in what we do.
Traditionally, you have agencies, digital agencies, research companies, content writing companies, and you have various types of broadcast methods that help you to reach to a specific target audience. We are none of that.
We are India's first mediatech company which uses technology and data to amplify reach. This is proven by the fact that we have been chosen time and again by multiple parties, multiple Bollywood movies, in fact all the Bollywood movies that have released after Covid, and going forward we have MoU's with almost 100% A and A+ movies releasing out of theatres.
I don't see there is a competition in the sector as yet if you have any names may you can suggest and I can comment.
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